Music On The Web: Where It Was Then

noah | October 1, 2008 4:30 am

Google has made the 2001 version of its search index available to celebrate its 10th birthday (it’s the oldest version the site had available–see, people, everyone needs to remember to back up their hard drives now and again!), and I figured it would be fun to plug in a few music-related terms and see what pages came up as the top results, and whether or not those pages were housed in the Internet archive known as the Wayback Machine. The results after the jump.

“music”: The No. 1 result in 2001 was, the flagship site of “the network.” (That domain name now houses some sort of “work in progress” music-video repository that takes way too long to load.) No. 2? This repository of music sites that is still functioning as a Web site, if a little stale-seeming. Whatever, I’ll add it to my bookmarks!

Other sites of note that were near the top of the “music” search results: •; • All Music Guide; • The Internet Underground Music Archive, or IUMA (hey, whatever happened to those people who named their kids after the indie-label music repository for $5,000–a promotion that took place only five months before the site shut down for good?); • the late online CD store CDNow; and • Madonna’s official site, where you could stream the “Don’t Tell Me” video at speeds optimized for either a 56k modem or a T1 line

NB: The No. 1 result for “music” now is the aggregator-of-aggregates music site operated by Yahoo! is No. 2, even though today is the first day that I’d ever heard of it. (Never underestimate the power of the five-letter domain name.)

Napster: Had stopped functioning in its old-school form by this point; a snapshot of the site from sometime in 2001 was apparently taken exactly when the company was in transition:

As you know, file sharing at Napster has been suspended for several months. During that time, we’ve been blown away by the number of Napster users who’ve continued to download the software and use it to organize and play their music. These dedicated users keep us inspired as we work on our new membership service. We’re in the home stretch, with all of our critical technology complete and in testing.

We’re also working hard to resolve our legal issues. We’re moving toward a settlement with the major labels that we feel will work for rights holders and allow us to bring you the music you want. The music and the technology are coming together for launch. We can’t wait to share it all with you.

Well, we all know how that worked out.

Audiogalaxy: Didn’t allow the contents of its now-long-dormant site to be indexed, but, guys, remember Audiogalaxy? That was how I got the whole Scritti Politti discography before the reissues came out, as well as… so much other stuff. Sigh.

MySpace: Was “a service owned by, Inc.” that apparently specialized in third-party file hosting.

Chinese Democracy: Most of the search results are actually about democracy in China, which is like, bo-ring! Although a few search results in, there’s a page–unarchived by the Wayback Machine and on a now-defunct server, alas–that has this little snippet:

According to GNR´s Manager Doug Goldstein Chinese Democracy is 99% musically done and 80% … The official release date of Chinese Democracy is June 2001

Or was. Ahem.

2001 Search [Google]